In what’s being described as a “newly refurbished” Oakdale Tourism and Visitor’s Bureau, recently appointed Chairman Keith Boggs has set course to give the group more effectiveness in bringing tourism to the city and the community more involvement in the direction it will take.
Boggs, who said he has decades of experience in tourism, stated he was invited to attend an OTVB meeting in November and in December was made the chairman as the board make-up was revised.
“They were doing wonderful work, but with a shotgun,” said Boggs. “There was no strategic focus and some political discord within the group.”
Boggs said he recommended for the first part of 2014 that the OTVB develop a strategic plan.
Boggs said that in addition to himself, Oakdale residents Jeff Hood, Dianne Korupp, Jim Homer, and Karen O’Bannon were also added to the board.
“Our first priority was to separate and dilute to make more of a community aspect,” said Boggs, who wanted to get as much community input as possible. “It’s important to do that so we get a rich and community buy-in for what we do.”
Boggs said that after input is received, the OTVB will put in effect what the direction is desired to be.
“The OTVB will be the implementer, not the gatekeeper,” Boggs said. “We will be open and transparent.”
In recent years, the OTVB has been fraught with difficulties and negative exposure.
In 2012, the Oakdale City Council voiced concerns about having the same board members from the city’s Business Improvement District (BID) sitting on the board of the OTVB who was designated to carry out the BID’s business plan. The BID board is comprised of the city’s four hotel operators all who were serving as board members of the OTVB.
Last year the OTVB came under scrutiny for its lack of timely financial reporting and a separate issue in the summer when its administrator, Ramona Howard criticized councilman Farrell Jackson in a widely distributed email for his stance on the city’s proposed park drinking ban.
Boggs’ hope is to move past those issues and to start working with other organizations in the city.
“If we don’t tell our story, people will tell it for us,” Boggs said.